Friday, January 11, 2013

Morah Katie: Sroli you are waiting so patiently.
Sroli: Natan painting. Waiting. 
I am pleasantly surprised each January with what the children show me: what they have learned and absorbed in the previous months of school.
These "things" can be small yet are quite big, as they demonstrate each child's growth.
I said above that I am "surprised",  I am not really surprised.
What I am is re-affirmed in the amazing capability of a young child when he/she is given the opportunity to explore, observe and follow his/her interests.
Dena (with a giggle and grin): Wait a minute, that isn't BLUE!
Morah Katie: Why did that happen?
Dena: Because the paper is yellow and the paint is blue,
yellow and blue make green!
 As a new year begins, there is  literal hand holding a young toddler through a task, describing each step as we go. (We will be painting/we need to put on an apron/we can get an apron in the bathroom/this is how we put it on/now we can paint).
Now, I can ask "I see you want to paint, what do you need to get first?"  Reliably my young friend will reply with "an apron" or show me by going and getting an apron.
Growth is seen when  the self sufficiency is taken a step further when the child cleans a spill without prompting and redirecting.

Building with blocks takes coordination and gross motor control and gives us a glimpse into the creativity of a child.
Early in the year, the use of blocks may have simply been to stack them.
This skill can be extended when a structure is created and the children are asked to add to it with purpose (The Holy Temple during Chanukah).
Now we are seeing spontaneous creations made with determination and /or collaboration.
As gross motor skills improve, so do fine motor skills.
As a child refines their ability to use a crayon, pencil or marker, we also see an increase in concentration and attention.
Earlier in the year we may simply see wild scribbles or letters all over the paper, now we see more purposeful scribbles and well formed letters.
With increased attention and concentration comes the ability to follow multi step directions.
This allows the older children to build on skills and knowledge they have.  
It encourages and promotes greater independence.
Once I have confirmed they have an understanding of the directions, I can leave them to accomplish their goal and check in with me when they are finished, or if they have a question.
Providing a classroom designed specifically for the children to explore, experiment and observe, allows for all of the above and more.  
It is the beginning of January and so much has been accomplished, I look forward to seeing what they reveal as our year continues.
Gracie: We are building our own marble tubes.

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